Quick...what's that blooming tree in the picture above?
It's nice to be able to indentify plants on the go. It's not only helpful when you see something that would go great in your garden but is also a nifty parlor trick.
Sometimes, Nature likes to play it's own party trick on us by making plants very similar but different at the same time. That is the case with the Orchid Tree and the Trumpet Tree.
From a distance, these two trees are basically identical. I know I'd find myself saying "what a nice orchid tree that is," only to find out it was something else. Looking at the trees above, can you tell? They are different.
Upon closer look, the blooms give it away. The orchid tree is not an actual orchid but the flowers look very similar. There is the 5-petal, fan shaped arrangement but is missing the usual lip of an orchid, which is actually a 6th petal that is modified as a pollinator attractor.
If the orchid tree flower looks like an orchid, what do you think the trumpet tree's flower looks like? That's right, it's trumpet shaped and a close up look gives it away. It looks like a trumpet bell with a frilly fringe on it.
When you see something you think you know, be sure to take a closer look. It just might be something else. Oh, the trees above? The orchid tree...or Bauhinia...is at the top. The trumpet tree...or Handroanthus...is the second one.
Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
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